Trying to spot your suitcase on a crowded airport carousel is hardly a modern dilemma: In the 19th century, well-heeled travelers would dab colorful stripes or letters on their trunks to help easily identify them when disembarking from a cruise ship or train.
Now Moynat, a trunk-maker and leather goods house dating back to 1849, is celebrating that practice with the Moynat World Tour, a roving pop-up concept based on personalization that kicked off at Le Bon Marché in Paris over the weekend.
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The retail activation coincides with the 103rd anniversary of Toile 1920 M, a durable canvas conceived specifically for made-to-order trunks. Today, Moynat uses the material for tote bags, backpacks, small leather goods and shoulder bags, including the rigid Little Suitcase and round Wheel BB model, miniature interpretations of historical trunks.
For the traveling pop-up, artists from the Moynat atelier will hand-paint a range of designs on bags and small leather goods, including a new style of lettering inspired by Parisian street art.
Among exclusive items on offer will be Oh! tote bags and matching pouches with stripes in a range of exclusive color combos. There will also be a wellness capsule for yoga enthusiasts.
The pop-up space in Paris, spanning about 540 square feet, is decorated with fixtures resembling archival trunks in the carbon-bronze monogram canvas. Leather trunk handles, studded metal bands and hand-painted stripes give the space visual verve.
Le Bon Marché is to host the pop-up until Feb. 18. Further stops for the Moynat World Tour are planned for Japan, China, Korea and the United States.
In an interview, Moynat chief executive officer Lisa Attia noted that Pauline Moynat, the first woman to run the firm’s trunk-making workshop, imported gutta-percha material from Indonesia to create the first waterproof trunk canvas, while about a century ago then-artistic director Henri Rapin created the Toile 1920 M by distorting the lines of the letter M to create a 3D effect.
Moynat continues to make trunks by special order.
“We can fulfill any client’s dream with our made-to-order service,” Attia said, noting that its current order book includes a violin trunk for French violinist Renaud Capuçon, who will unlock it during couture week in Paris later this month for a private performance at Le Bon Marché.
She noted the brand delights in perpetuating its tradition of personalization, noting Moynat has been hand-painting colored ribbons on trunks since day one.
“In addition to the client’s initials, this was a practical way to identify the trunks,” she explained. “To take personalization further, we are launching new personalized monograms that can combine clients’ initials using alphabets into a singular monogram.”
French luxury titan Bernard Arnault revived the almost-forgotten Moynat brand in 2011 by opening a flagship boutique on the Rue Saint-Honoré. The brand is five years older than Louis Vuitton and was best known for its lightweight, waterproof trunks for automobiles.
With its modest retail footprint and low-key communications, Moynat stands out from the other luxury behemoths in Arnault’s family-controlled empire — which also includes Dior, Fendi, Givenchy and Celine.
Moynat is controlled by the family-owned Groupe Arnault, but Sidney Toledano, chairman and chief executive officer of LVMH Fashion Group, has oversight of the brand, which welcomed Vuitton veteran Nicholas Knightly as its new creative director in 2020.
Today the brand operates 34 boutiques in 12 countries.